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Want to completely change your mindset about decluttering? Super! I like to think that shopping is like eating and decluttering like losing weight. And this mindset has helped me take my house from “fat” to “fit” and to keep it that way!
You know the formula to stay in shape – eat the equal amount you consume.
You also know the formula to lose weight – eat less than you consume.
And if you eat more than you consume, you know the result – you’ll might gain some weight.
The same happens to your home, your closet and to your credit card.
If you overshop or overspend (or otherwise acquire things) your home and closet will gain weight (aka stuff, things and even clutter). And your credit card bill… you might even have to call it fat.
You might say that you don’t spend on anything any more. But if you’ve had or still have clutter in your home, then some point in your life you’ve acquired things either buying them or otherwise getting them from somewhere.
So if you think that you can do one decluttering project and then like magic there won’t be any clutter ever again, but you won’t change the way you acquire things, you need to change your mindset.
1. Decluttering Mindset Change: Decluttering is like losing weight
A lot of people are into organizing and decluttering the same way like others are into dieting or exercising.
I was one of those former ones. I did my own months-long project of going from the queen-of-chaos to strict-minimalism.
When you get into organizing, you think of it as a project. You get rid of things the same way you would try to lose weight. You have a goal in mind – you want to get your house in shape.
In the beginning you might see big results, and you’re excited. You’re telling and posting about your progress, and others compliment you. But further down the project you get, more difficult it gets to see significant results. And the early excitement is already long gone.
Somepoint you look back and wonder, what was suppose to be the ideal weight of your home? When is this project ready?
After my minimizing and no-buy projects were over, I still felt kind of empty. I was afraid I would go back to my old habits and destroy everything I had achieved. I also wanted to reward myself with pretty things, now that I had done such a huge job. That was the moment when I started to think about shopping in a totally different way.
2. Decluttering Mindset Change: Shopping is like eating
I started to think that shopping is like eating. Things are like calories and clutter is the excess pounds of your house.
The things you buy come to your life, they stay in your life and then one day they leave your life.
If more stuff comes to your life than leaves, you’ll end up with clutter – aka excess pounds.
The same way is with calories. You eat and the calories enter your body. Then if you don’t consume enough of them they stay in your body and turn into excess pounds. Simple.
And if you want to get rid of those excess pounds you need to lose weight aka declutter.
3. Decluttering Mindset Change: Maintaining your clutter-free house is the hardest part
When a weight losing project is over comes the harder part – staying in that weight. To do that you need to think about what you eat so you don’t end up in the same place where you started.
The same is with organizing and decluttering.
After getting rid of things and organizing comes the not-so-exciting part – maintaining. And to prevent new clutter coming into your life, you need to think about the things that cluttered your home the first time: your shopping,
Why? Because the yo-yo effect in both cases is brutal.
4. Decluttering Mindset Change: The yo-yo effect is brutal…
Let’s say you wanted to lose 20 pounds. You said no to treats and fast food, ate only what your body needed and woke up early in the mornings to go jogging and went to the gym. And after some months you got to your goal and felt amazing. You lost 20 pounds!
And then after some time would past, you would start eating pizzas, drinking wine and having candy bars for lunch. What do you think would happen?
The same is with decluttering and shopping.
You spend all of your free time organizing your home, getting rid of things, donating, cleaning, making decisions about what to keep.
In the beginning you also made a decision not to buy anything that wasn’t a necessity. And finally after months of hard work your organizing project is ready. Your home is fit and your closet is in great shape.
What would happen, if you’d start mindlessly shopping again? Or you would start acquiring cheap or free things? The pounds on your house wouldn’t come back in a second, but little by little they would come. And some point you’ll end up where you started.
So how can you avoid the yo-yo effect?
5. Decluttering Mindset Change: Choose low-buy over no-buy
The same way as in eating and exercising, there also needs to be a balance in shopping and spending, and in decluttering and organizing.
You can’t stop eating. The same way you shouldn’t stop shopping.
And that’s why I choose low-buy over no-buy.
Like eating healthy and exercising, also shopping and organizing in the right balance should be a lifestyle.
You should provide your body good nutritions, vitamins and even a treat here and there. The same way is with shopping. To keep the balance you need to buy good stuff, things that are needed and every now and then treat yourself with something you really want and like.
Of course there’s always the other choise: not to lose weight the first place and just to buy bigger pants and in this case a bigger home, but that would then mean you need to pay more and we don’t want your credit card to gain weight either. The balance is everything.
But what is the perfect balance for your home to stay fit, your closet to feel energetic and your credit card to be in harmony?
You’re on your way to balance when you start to understand that shopping is like eating and overshopping is the cause of your home, closet and credit card to gain weight.
You don’t need to have a house that is perfectly fit and stop shopping.
Organizing and shopping go hand in hand and going from one extreme to another is not good for you. Instead of a project, think about shopping and decluttering as a lifestyle. And find what’s the best fit for you.
Next steps to take
Learn more about feel-good decluttering from these articles:
- 6 crucial steps to take before starting a decluttering project (+ free workbook)
- Why you should treat your home like a boutique and not like a bazaar
- How to be extra smart with decluttering (+ free printable templates)
- The simplest way to declutter (the yes-maybe-no method)
- How to use the simple yet powerful 4T decluttering method
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